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Undrafted DT's hard work pays off

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by IPBprez, Nov 24, 2005.

  1. IPBprez

    IPBprez Cheesehead

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    Cole holds the line
    Undrafted DT's hard work pays off

    By RICK BRAUN
    Packer Plus writer

    Posted: Nov. 23, 2005

    Green Bay - When new defensive coordinator Jim Bates addressed reporters shortly after the Green Bay Packers completed their 2005 draft, he caught reporters off guard by talking about what he considered a wealth of talented young players along the defensive line.

    "Say what?" most reporters thought.

    It's becoming apparent that Bates' comments are holding up, and defensive tackle Colin Cole is one of the reasons.

    One of what are now 18 players on the Packers' 53-man roster who were not drafted, Cole joined the Packers last season as a member of the practice squad. He was elevated to the 53-man roster last Nov. 30 and after being inactive for three games played in the final two regular-season games.

    That hardly meant he was assured of anything in 2005, but by the time training camp had ended, Cole's places on the roster and in the rotation were secure.

    And he isn't just a body taking up space. Cole has become one of the most consistent defensive linemen.

    He led all defensive linemen with five solo tackles in the 33-25 victory over Atlanta last week. Two weeks before that he had two solo and five assisted tackles.

    In Monday's night's 20-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Cole had four solo tackles, including a sack. "Colin has been the rock of all the players with a consistency," defensive coordinator Jim Bates said. "We've gotten that from a lot of those defensive linemen, but as far as inside he's been a rock. When he goes out there his production has been excellent. He's playing within technique. He's done a lot of solid things for us and he's been a real plus for us in our defense and our rotation."

    Cole has become a true run-stopper in the middle, but it doesn't end there. He also has become a main part of the Packers' pass rush.

    While he only has two sacks, he has become a constant part of pressuring opposing quarterbacks. In the Atlanta game he bolted through the line so quickly and had quarterback Michael Vick wrapped up, only to have Vick somehow get an underhanded toss off to running back Warrick Dunn. Although it wasn't a sack, the play still resulted in a 4-yard loss.

    "That was unbelievable how Vick was able to get that ball out," Bates said. "He went by the guard. He snatched him and just never lost stride. He was on Vick, boom, like that and he got that ball out. That's just a shame, but that's part of the game. I don't think too many other players could have gotten that ball out."

    Cole came out of the University of Iowa, where he was a teammate of Packer end Aaron Kampman for his first three seasons. Kampman was drafted by the Packers in the fifth round in 2002, but when Cole came out in 2003 as a first-team all-Big Ten player, his road would be much rockier than Kampman's.

    "It's been a hard one," Cole said. "It's not something that everybody can do, I can say that much.

    "Coming as a senior out of college I was told I'd be fourth round at worst and it never happened. It turned out that a lot of D-tackles came out that year, a lot of guys were drafted. There were a lot of guys that teams took and I wasn't a guy with the top numbers in the 40 and all the numbers that they look at, I wasn't a top guy at that."

    After not being drafted, Cole signed a free-agent contract with the Vikings. He would break camp on the Vikings' 53-man roster but he was waived after being inactive for the season opener, a 30-25 Minnesota victory at Lambeau Field.

    He signed on with the Vikings' practice squad and was added to the active roster, but was again waived after one game as an inactive. He signed with the Detroit Lions in time to be on the roster - but again inactive - for the season finale.

    After going through minicamps and training camp with the Lions in 2004, Cole was waived in the final roster cut down. He signed with Detroit's practice squad on Sept. 7, 2004, but was waived a day later. He signed with the Packers' practice squad on Sept. 16 and was finally able to plant some roots.

    "I was pretty much bouncing around until I got here," Cole said. "I was able to get comfortable with the system, comfortable with being here, comfortable playing again. To say the least, it has been a long, tough journey."

    One of the reasons he's become a fixture in Green Bay is he's proved to be a quick study and a solid fit in Bates' new scheme.

    "He's really into the book and understands what we're trying to get done," Bates said.

    With a high school wrestling background - he won a Florida state title as a senior at South Plantation High School near Fort Lauderdale - Cole gets low in the middle and is able to anchor his squatty 325-pound body against interior linemen and hold the point of attack.

    "I think this defense suits what he does well," Kampman said. "He plays with great fundamentals and leverage and he's very strong. I think this is definitely a good situation for him."

    While Cole has arrived - his 23 solo tackles tie him for third among Packer defensive linemen - it's doubtful he'll ever take that for granted.

    "I know that at any time - just like last year when I was here and waiting for an opportunity - a young guy that comes in now is going to be trying to get the same job that I've got and hoping for that same opportunity."


    ======================================

    I said it, the minute I saw him and then compared physical stats on Packers.com ---- this guy is the next "Graveddigger" for the Green Bay Packers! Bank on it... Barring injury, he should end up having a damn decent career on the Frozen Tundra. IPBprez
     
  2. CaliforniaCheez

    CaliforniaCheez Cheesehead

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    He is a free agent at the end of the year. He should be signed long term because the way he is improving he won't get any cheaper. He was a guy Bates thought was good enough to tell Thompson DT was not a priority in the draft.

    I think agents know that the Packers give undrafted free agents a fair shot at making the team as one or two always do.
     
  3. Chamuko

    Chamuko Cheesehead

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    The main reason why the Defense looks better every day is because they have found a leader in Jim Bates I really like the way in which this guy plays the game, he is energetic and allways ready to congatulate a player or to tell someone about his wrong plays, there were a lot of people that wasnt willing to give Bates a chance to be in the top 20 defense ranks and now I believe he will finish in the top 10.

    I wish we keep Bates around for a long time !!!
     
  4. retiredgrampa

    retiredgrampa Cheesehead

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    If TT doesn't give top priority to re-signing Cole, he'll be making a huge mistake. Cole's progression reminds me a lot of Kampman. At first considered to be more or less a journeyman type player...no one to get excited over. But, through sheer hard work and determination, pushes himself to the front. We need more guys like these two. Both improving, both affordable. Re-sign 'em, TT!
     
  5. HatestheEagles084

    HatestheEagles084 Cheesehead

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    colin cole plays with definite heart...might not become a starter, but is great as a situational guy...him, cullen jenkins, corey williams and possibly a high draft pick will make an excellent d-line rotation...i think grady jackson will be ousted as the youth movement continues

    i hope to see colin cole back...he, kampman, cullen jenkins, robert thomas, nick barnett, roy manning, nick collins...guys, there is a heck of a young core forming on this defense...stay tuned to this...
     
  6. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    I said in the offseason that our defensive line was our strength on D.

    Kamp,KGB,Fat Jackson, Cullen Jenkins, Cole, and Montgomery contributing

    I love being right, although id like to try something new one day.
     
  7. HatestheEagles084

    HatestheEagles084 Cheesehead

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    me too

    i said this team would'nt make the playoffs and i got booed off the forum practically "youre not being positive", no i'm being honest
     
  8. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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    It's not hard to be positive and honest. :rules:
     

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